Experts worry lack of caution over July 4 weekend could mean COVID-19 surge

National News

(CNN) The pandemic had many people across the country celebrating the Fourth of July at home.  Despite COVID-19, crowds still flocked to fireworks shows and beaches to have a good time.

As America celebrated her 244th birthday, public health officials pleaded with Americans to keep safe, noting the worst public health crisis in anyone’s memory isn’t going away.

The numbers tell the story.

Coronavirus infections are spreading like wildfire in 36 states with Arizona, Texas, Florida, and California posting record infection rates this past week alone.

Nationwide the death toll is nearing 130,000 and almost three million people have been infected.

So for this weekend, anyway, the hope was that Americans would be mindful and avoid large crowds to help prevent COVID-19 spread.

The results seem to be a mixed bag.

On the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the holiday crowd size did appear to be much smaller than in years past.  Even so, few of the spectators watching the grand fireworks show from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial were donning masks.

In New York City, which was hard hit by the coronavirus spread early on, the show did go on.

City officials were hopeful many revelers would watch the spectacular fireworks show from home. 

Meanwhile, video footage from North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Alabama’s Orange Beach and California’s Manhattan Beach all showed people putting safety to the side in favor of a little fun in the sun.

“I’m not necessarily concerned. It’s not about partying, it’s about celebrating America,” said one Independence Day reveler.

“I’m very free of coronavirus, so I’m here far from other people,” said another person on the beach.

Health officials are quick to point out the current surge followed similar public behavior over the long Memorial Day weekend.

The fear now is the surge may only get worse and once again, we may see hospitals overwhelmed with patients.

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